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Abu Dhabi film fest kicks off today

posted on 23/10/2014

Curtains are up for the eighth edition of the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival (ADFF).

The 10-day festival that runs till November 1 will bring the best of international and Arab cinema to movie screens at VOX cinemas in Marina Mall and Emirates Palace.

In the line-up of 197 films from 61 countries, there are nine world premieres of feature films and 48 short films.

The festival will open for the first time with the locally-produced film From A to B by Emirati filmmaker Al Mostafa.

Known for his award-winning 2009 film City of Life, Mostafa's second full length feature film From A to B follows three Western-educated Arab youths who travel 1,500 miles from Abu Dhabi to Beirut in memory of their dead friend.

Matter of pride

"It is a privilege to celebrate the world premiere in our capital and a matter of pride that an Emirati film will open the festival. This is another testament to our growing industry as the festival has proven to be a great platform for showing Arab films to an international audience,” said Mostafa.

Disney's action-packed animation film Big Hero 6 will be screened on the closing night.

Several Arab films will be presented alongside international titles in Narrative, New Horizons, Documentary and Short Film competition categories.

The jury members who will select the winning films in the Narrative category include Indian actor Irrfan Khan, Algerian novelist Waciny Laredj, award-winning English writer and director Steven Shainberg, Australian film director Cate Shortland and award-winning Palestinian actor Ali Suliman.

For the second consecutive year, there will be a Child Protection Award for films that highlight the scourge of child abuse. The award is constituted in conjunction with the Child Protection Centre, U.A.E. Ministry of Interior.

The festival will also show some restored classics like Rebel Without a Cause, A Fistful of Dollars and Mary Poppin.

Through a collaboration with Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation/ World Cinema Project (WCP), ADFF will also screen two newly restored international masterworks – Sergei Parajanov's The Colour of the Pomegranates and Lino Brocka's Manila in The Claws of Light.

Panel discussions on topics ranging from film preservation and crowdfunding campaigns to Arab diaspora filmmaking and international co-productions will be held as part of the ADFF Talks Film programme, which kicks off on October 24 with In conversation with Rachid Bouchareb.

The French-Algerian director and American producer Edward Pressman will be honoured with this year's Career Achievement Award for their outstanding contributions to world cinema.

Panel discussion Let's Work Together on the following day will include directors and producers from Europe, Canada and the Arab world analysing whether Arab filmmakers should opt for international co-productions and collaborations to gain global success. For information on films and screening timings, visit - Gulf News -


Revealed: Dubai’s best hidden attractions

posted on 23/10/2014

A new tourism campaign to promote Dubai makes a marked departure from the city's high profile attractions to focus on lesser known treasures.

Said to be the world's biggest social media tourism campaign, #MyDubaiTrip is a social travel series launched by Peeta Planet for the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). The upcoming 12-episode series has zeroed in on 12 day-long itineraries curated and crowdsourced from 50 prominent social media influencers in Dubai through a public vote, following which the world's best instagrammers were roped in to capture the travels. The one-month filming of the itineraries ended on October 13.

Sharing the experience with XPRESS, Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, one of the four Emirati brothers behind Peeta Planet, said: "The 12 itineraries provide a unique and handcrafted list of must-dos and activities representative of the person who curated them. They all provide local insights that would be tough if not impossible to gather from a guidebook or traveller's manual. The #MyDubai hashtag serves as a digital autobiography of this diverse city and the #MyDubaiTrip takes a different step and equips tourists with personal insights and reflections of the city.”

Each itinerary has six items highlighting what it considers the best cultural hotspot, two key activities and three eating places - for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The choicest destinations are not the hyped attractions but largely off-track.

¬¬"I think most Dubai residents and locals are very eager to show a side to Dubai that not a lot of people know about. Many of our curators have been in Dubai long before the glitz, glamour and prestige, and are familiar with icons and activities that have stood the test of time. Once you scratch the surface of this city, you will find an array of secret treasures and little places brimming with personality, authenticity and culture. The #MyDubaiTrip has been able to marry the bigger and smaller attractions of Dubai, putting together a truly authentic experience,” said Peyman.

His brother Mohammad Al Awadhi said: "Like many cities, Dubai is what you make of it. Sticking to the tried and tested track, you'd happen upon many of the familiar and much-advertised hotspots and attractions. Go off the path and you'll find many hidden gems and local spots unknown to most travellers (if not most locals).”

Take the itinerary drawn up by Emirati stand-up comedian Kanu Al Kendi and captured by Kuwaiti photographer/instagrammer AbdulAziz Al Dowaisan. Al Kendi stuck to his roots. So the best places he recommends to eat include Control Restaurant for breakfast, Al Gharshoob for lunch and Mubasher Café Local Sandwiches and Juices for dinner. His cultural hotspot is Dubai Museum and his must-do activities are a bout of mixed martial arts with Team Nogeuira and watching sunrise on a desert safari.

Old is gold even for Saudi Arabian influencer Muneera Al Tamimi, a graduate from the American University in Dubai. Her picks depicted by instagrammer Dariscz Cahyadi from Indonesia range from Raju Omelet, Creekside Café and Al Marhabani to the Spice Souq, Hindu temple and Fishtails bike ride. She takes visitors to a Dubai of the past, with all its personality, charm and culture.

Non-Arab expat influencers too seem to prefer the offbeat. As Samantha Wood, a British resident known for her Foodiva blog and Paris-based Mexican instagrammer Saul Aguilar showcase, Dubai is a "foodie's paradise”. Away from the five star restaurants, Wood goes with Camelcinno's and Majlis Café for breakfast, Omnia Gourmet for lunch and Qbara for dinner. Recommended activities include Instameet-up at Al Jadaf Drydocks, a Seawings flight and a visit to Jumeirah Mosque.

English-American adrenaline junkie Max Stanton – whose itinerary was portrayed by instagrammer Craig Howes from South Africa recommends eating joints like Al Fanar, Abshar and Al Mallah, just as he finds "kandourah fitting” a befitting cultural tribute. His favourite activities - scuba diving at the Dubai Mall aquarium and paddleboarding at the Palm – are among the few new attractions in the travel series.

Either way, the project has proved to be a lifetime experience for the participants. Instagrammer Paulo Del Valle from Brazil who worked on Emirati Sharifa Badri's itinerary said: "It was a good idea to show the world everything that Dubai has to offer. It was great to experience Dubai as a local and I definitely had a lot of fun.” – Gulf News -


ADMAF announces winner of Comic Arts Award 2014

posted on 23/10/2014

Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, ADMAF, has announced the winner of the ADMAF Comic Arts Award 2014 in association with award sponsors, Mubadala. Part of ADMAF's Rewarding Excellence programme, the award aims to create awareness around the power of the comic arts as a tool of self-expression, creativity and cultural awareness.

The shortlisted entries for the award, which called for submissions from U.A.E. citizens above the age of 18, were on display at the Mubadala Youth Forum. With the aim to nurture and celebrate outstanding artistic expression in the comic arts, submissions were assessed on artistic merit, technical skill, evidence of original thinking, and development of a concept, all of which were encapsulated in the winning entry. "Mary and Me" by Fatima Al Muhairi, a graduate of the Cartoon Network Animation Academy in Abu Dhabi, explores a young girl's relationship with her mother, father and nanny.

Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, commented, "The excellent submissions received for the 2014 ADMAF Comic Arts Award reflect the wealth of creativity among young U.A.E. citizens. We are proud to announce Fatima Al Muhairi as the winner and hope that this award may encourage her to develop her comic arts concept further. All forms of artistic expression are vitally important in the development of society and as part of our Rewarding Excellence programme, the Comic Arts Award uses a fascinating medium to nurture creativity among the youth of the nation." Commenting on the partnership, Nadine Hassan, Head of Social Development and Partnerships, Mubadala, said, "Our partnership with ADMAF continues to help us bring outstanding opportunities to the local community. Hosting the ADMAF Comic Arts Award at the Mubadala Youth Forum aligns with our vision to showcase success stories that inspire young Emiratis to play a role in the range of exciting industries that are being developed in the U.A.E.." The prize for the winner includes fees and living expenses to attend an overseas course at the New York Film Academy 3D Animation School, along with a WACOM Cintiq 13HD graphics tablet computer and a signed limited edition copy of Ashraf Ghori's ‘Vault'. In addition, the winning work will be entered into the U.S.A. Society of Illustrators Comic and Cartoon Art Annual, 2015.

Celebrating the very best in in national comic arts, the inaugural edition of this annual competition accepted submissions in comic or animation mediums including Long Form (longer than 40 pages) such as graphic novels, Short Form (shorter than 40 pages), including stand-alone work, Digital Media including web comics and online comic strips, Comic Strips featuring four or more panels, Single Image featuring a self-contained narrative image, and Moving Image utilising motion graphics. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Art announces 2014 programme

posted on 23/10/2014

Abu Dhabi Art, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, returns with an interdisciplinary programme of art, talks and sensational experiences from November 5th-8th.

The sixth edition welcomes artists, collectors, galleries, art professionals and visitors from around the world to participate in a programme that takes Abu Dhabi's future cultural institutions as guiding principles to reflect on themes of time, space and history.

"This year, the Abu Dhabi Art programme will celebrate the upcoming opening of Abu Dhabi museums and finds inspiration in the spirit of the future museums' collections. It will consist of three main sectors: a daily public forum examining the importance of museums as sites of action and new experiences; a performing arts programme exploring concepts of universality and transversality and themes such as humankind's complex relationship with nature and the passage of time, culture and ideas between one civilisation and another and a set of public art, design and architecture initiatives that connect with the wider city and communities of Abu Dhabi," said Rita Aoun-Abdo, Executive Director, Culture Sector, TCA Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi Art features a daily public forum that aims to introduce audiences to the ever-expanding community of art-world figures who by their presence at Abu Dhabi Art, are working together to enhance the U.A.E. art scene. This year, the programme is inspired by the "life" of Modern Museums, including the future museums of Saadiyat Island, as spaces of education, performance and experience.

Reflecting on these themes will be a Louvre Abu Dhabi: Talking Art Series panel, featuring Jean Nouvel, Ernesto Neto and Vincent Pomarede, entitled "Museums as Sites for New Experiences", and a playful lecture-performance by Martin Creed, "What is Art?". Artist and artwork engagement with wider audiences is also explored in talks by world-renowned artists such as the legendary Richard Long, one of the founders of the "land art" movement, as well as inspiring talks by Hassan Hajjaj and Job Smeets of the design collective Studio Job, whose works represent different perspectives on popular culture.

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection will be discussed and part of it will be on display for audiences to experience in the exhibition "Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection", which opens in parallel with Abu Dhabi Art. Featuring interactive and engaging artworks that use light as a medium and a muse, the exhibition is enhanced by a public panel that introduces audiences to three artists in the exhibition and collection: Angela Bulloch, Rachid Koraichi and Shirazeh Houshiary.

Abu Dhabi Art also combines the living intangible heritage of the U.A.E. with contemporary design, continuing to highlight the unique qualities of the U.A.E. design aesthetic through programmes such as the Wings Project, which provides emerging Emirati artists and designers an opportunity to reimagine the Abu Dhabi Art "wing" logo. In addition, the Abu Dhabi Art U.A.E. Designer Programme culminates this year with a presentation of innovative design product prototypes using elements of U.A.E. craft by Fatima Al Zaabi, Noora Al Awar and Khuloud Sharafi of TINKAH. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates Heritage Club to launch heritage exhibition

posted on 23/10/2014

The Emirates Heritage Club on Thursday will launch an exhibition under the slogan of 'Thank You Khalifa' in Al Ain, to familiarise the public with the club's vision and goals of reviving the U.A.E. legacy as well as attracting the young to participate in spreading awareness of traditional U.A.E. culture and national heritage.

The implementation of launching the exhibition comes under the directives of Emirates Heritage Club Chairman, H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President's Representative.

Juma Salem Al Darmaki, Director of Museums and Artefacts at the Zayed Studies and Research Unit, said that the unit will participate in presenting rare photos, collectibles, documents and souvenirs which will highlight the great legacy of the late Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Downtown Design unveils line-up of global design speakers alongside iconic exhibiting brands

posted on 23/10/2014

Downtown Design, the Middle East platform for contemporary original design has announced its final line-up of keynote speakers at its much anticipated second edition from October 28th to 31st at the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, which is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and is sponsored by Emaar, and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

The four-day event will feature a talk series titled "Original Talks", which will be held daily and will give delegates an opportunity to interact with some of the most influential individuals that have shaped the industry with their creativity, business acumen and unique perspectives.

Headlining the impressive line-up this year is Mario Bellini, an international icon of design and architecture. Bellini has won numerous prestigious awards including the Medaglia d'Oro, and has also worked on milestone projects in the U.A.E., including the Dubai Creek Complex. Most recently, he has been working on the Department of Islamic Arts at the Louvre in Paris.

Other notable speakers, Aric Chen, former Creative Director of Beijing Design Week and the Curator of Architecture and Design at M+ museum, Hong Kong, will discuss creating a Global Museum from an alternative perspective, while Giovanna Castiglioni of Fondazione Castiglioni, will share the story of the Castiglioni way of design, and how inspiration can arise from daily and random objects to become functional objects of original design.

"At M+, we're interested in once-peripheries that have become new centres - places where people, ideas and influences converge and mingle to create something entirely new. What better place to observe this than in Dubai?" said Chen.

The head of the Interior Design Programme at the Royal College of Art in London, and one of the UK's leading designers, Ab Rogers, will speak on the closing day about key projects across hospitality, leisure and retail on which he has worked, as well as the burgeoning London design scene.

Rogers said, "We are now using design and technology to build responsive solutions to change the way environment responds with its user. There is real potential to create digital inventions that work as part of intelligent, sustainable spaces to offer the occupant an immersive and multi-sensory interior landscape which they can influence and control." Speakers from leading design businesses will also take part in the exhibition and daily talks will offer visitors the opportunity to understand the business of design from international authorities in the field. Speakers will include Claudio Luti, President of Milan's Salone del Mobile and world-renowned Italian furniture company Kartell, Philippe Zuber, Chief Operating Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group, and Stefania Lazzaroni, Altagamma's Secretary-General, who will present key data and trends from the hot off the press Bain and Company's Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study.

"We have been following with great interest the region's rapid growth and are thrilled that there is finally a platform like Downtown Design that brings together all the key players facilitating business relationships. The region is undeniably an important market for the sector and offers brands excellent growth opportunities," said Lazzaroni. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Science Festival to be held in November

posted on 23/10/2014

Held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, and organised by the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC), the Abu Dhabi Science Festival (ADSF) from 13th-22nd November, sees a host of locally-inspired activities available for the whole community to enjoy.

The local content has been developed with partners across the U.A.E. to inspire the nation's youth and add extra appeal to the region's largest celebration of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

Local organisations working in partnership with TDC to deliver ADSF 2014 include Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, Emirates Foundation, Family Development Foundation, Khalifa University, Al Ain Zoo, Emirates Park Zoo, Abu Dhabi Astronomy Club, Dubai Astronomy Group, EduTech, Nutty Scientist, ZerOhm and Bidaya Media. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Etihad Airways named one of the world’s most in-demand employers by LinkedIn

posted on 23/10/2014

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has been recognised as one of the world's most attractive employers on LinkedIn's ‘Global 100 InDemand Employers' list.

LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network on the Internet, announced the rankings at its 2014 Talent Connect conference held last night in San Francisco. Etihad Airways was ranked as the 82nd most in-demand employer among other notable companies, including Google, Apple and Expedia.

Ray Gammell, Chief People and Performance Officer of Etihad Airways, said, "Being named one of the world's most in-demand employers is a tremendous accomplishment. This is testament to our more than 22,000 people from over 140 nationalities who make Etihad Airways the organisation it is." The ‘Global 100 InDemand Employers' ranking is a list of the world's most sought-after employers, chosen based on billions of interactions from LinkedIn's more than 313 million members. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sharjah Ruler opens new Dh500m airport runway

posted on 23/10/2014

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, yesterday opened a new Dh500 million runway at Sharjah International Airport, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and other sheikhs and officials.

The inauguration of the runway reflects H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan's keenness in following up on all vital projects that contribute to the growth of the emirate and the efforts made to provide the business sector and the public with a high-quality service infrastructure.

The project covers the construction of the main runway, spanning 4,060 metres with a width of 60 metres, running parallel to the former runway. It also has two taxi-ways and eight connecting corridors that are intended to let aircraft get off the main runway and into the hangar in the shortest time possible.

The runway is equipped with multiple control systems, aeronautics and lighting, and electromechanical equipment to match the CAT II level of operating efficiency, as determined by the specifications of the General Civil Aviation Authority of the U.A.E. and the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The runway's operating efficiency can later be upgraded to CAT III B. The new runway has been designed to receive large aircraft and new generations of aircraft (Code F), such as the Boeing 747-800, Airbus A380, and giant freighters like AN124 and AN225.

The Sharjah Ruler's private jet took off and landed on the new runway to mark its first use. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Falcon Aviation Services signs orders for two AW189 helicopters

posted on 23/10/2014

Finmeccanica - AgustaWestland has announced that Falcon Aviation Services, FAS, of Abu Dhabi has signed firm orders for two AW189 super medium helicopters in offshore configuration. The contract will expand the FAS fleet of AgustaWestland helicopters, which already includes light helicopters such as Grand, GrandNew and will shortly include the new AW169.

The AW189 was designed in response to the growing market demand for a versatile, affordable, multirole medium twin engine helicopter, says the head of AW commercial office in Abu Dhabi. The new 8.3 tonne AW189 is optimised for oil and gas offshore transport and SAR missions and has already received orders for 130 helicopters, making it the outright market leader in its class.

The spacious cabin is configured with up to 19-seat layout. The cockpit design, incorporating the latest in advanced situational awareness technologies, reduces crew workload and enhances safety. The AW189 meets the very latest international regulatory safety requirements (EASA / FAA Part 29, JAR OPS 3 / EU-OPS). The AW189 is unique in having a 50 minute ‘run-dry' capable main gear box, exceeding current certification standards and offering unmatched safety and reliability for offshore operations.

The AW189 is part of the AgustaWestland family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW169 and AW139 models, which possess the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features as well as sharing a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4 to 8.3 tonne weight categories.

FAS has established itself as a leader in the aviation market through the provision of innovative products and services. With its main operating base at Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi, FAS is ideally located to serve its customers. Its helicopter and corporate jet fleet offer a wide range of capability, performance and comfort to satisfy its growing list of clients. FAS' services include corporate jet charter, helicopter tourism, aerial photography and filming, aerial banner advertising, offshore and on-shore oil and gas support, aircraft maintenance and aircraft management. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mansour bin Zayed receives Duke of Westminster

posted on 23/10/2014

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, yesterday received Lord Gerald Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster, and his accompanying delegation.

Sheikh Mansour and the Duke of Westminster exchanged views on the close ties between the two countries and discussed ways of increasing cooperation in fields including trade, investment and humanitarian programs.

The meeting was attended by Rashid Al Amri, Under-Secretary of the Government Coordination Sector at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


MoFA becomes pioneer in use of security e-hologram sticker for attestation

posted on 23/10/2014

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), has received a pioneer patent in the use of e-hologram sticker for attestation, a system that provides high-quality security tags, from the International Hologram Manufacturers Association in Britain.

The patent certificate was presented by Ahmed Saeed Elham Al Dhahiri, Director of the Consular Services at the (MoFA), to Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

The e-hologram sticker, a product used for verification and authentication, protects the security and confidentiality of attestation as per international standards in this respect.

The new attestation mechanism has been endorsed at the attestation centres of the MoFA, and 30 representative missions abroad.

This move comes in line with the U.A.E. Government's smart vision to provide the best services to customers. It also meets the directives of leadership of the MoFA to provide services in accordance to the best international electronic practices. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi's Masdar to build GCC's first large-scale wind farm to power 16,000 homes in Oman

posted on 23/10/2014

Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, on Wednesday signed a joint development agreement with Oman's Rural Areas Electricity Company, RAECO, to build the first large-scale wind farm in the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC. The US$125 million, 50-megawatt wind farm in the Sultanate of Oman will be constructed in the country's Dhofar Governorate.

The project is estimated to generate enough clean electricity to power 16,000 homes and mitigate 110,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The project will consist of up to 25 wind turbines, and construction is slated to begin in the final quarter of 2015.

The first-of-its-kind wind project is a result of strong bilateral ties between the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The project also reflects the increasing trend by GCC nations to invest in renewables as a means to diversify the energy mix and address long-term resource security. In fact, investments in solar, wind and peaceful nuclear energy are expected to reach US$100 billion over the next five years.

"The region is rapidly adopting renewable energy as a viable solution to meet growing electricity demands and to address long-term resource security," said Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar." The Oman wind project is a prime example of how clean energy can deliver reliable power supplies and improve energy security, while also supporting a transition to a low-carbon future." "The United Arab Emirates is a first mover," said Al Jaber, "And the country is extending its global energy leadership through the deployment of wind and solar power domestically and internationally. Through Masdar, the U.A.E. is proving that renewables are both competitive commercially and essential to diversifying the global energy mix." The Dhofar wind-power project supports Oman's broader strategy to meet the country's growing energy demand, which is rising due to population and economic growth. Upon completion, wind energy will represent 7 percent of total installed power generation capacity in the Dhofar region.

"This project will deliver significant economic benefits," said Hamed al Magdheri, CEO of RAECO. "When completed, wind power will meet half of the Dhofar region's energy needs during the winter. It will also reduce our reliance on traditional forms of energy, such as gas, which can be redirected toward more valuable industrial uses, while also extending the life of our hydrocarbon reserves." Masdar has a strong track record of delivering large-scale renewable energy projects in the region and across the globe. In the wind sector, Masdar delivered the London Array – the largest offshore wind farm in the world – and is currently part of a consortium working to complete the Dudgeon Wind Farm, a 402-megawatt project in the United Kingdom. In the Middle East, Masdar is also working to deliver the 117-megawatt Tafila onshore wind farm in the Hashemite ¬¬Kingdom of Jordan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Suhail Al Mazrouei launches U.A.E. Energy Status Report

posted on 23/10/2014

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA: Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, has launched the first issuing of the U.A.E.'s Energy Status Report 2015, coinciding with World Energy Day, which falls today.

The release of the report was made on the side-lines of the Executive Assembly of the World Energy Council, WEC, being held in Cartagena, Colombia.

Present at the launching ceremony were Dr. Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Mohammed Al Za'abi, the U.A.E. Ambassador to Colombia, Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Hammadi, CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Fatima Al Foora Al Shamsi, Assistant Under-Secretary of Electricity at the U.A.E. Ministry of Energy and Secretary of the U.A.E. National Committee for WEC, as well as the members of the country's delegation participating in the 24th World Energy Conference.

The report reviews sources of energy, steps taken in the field of energy efficiency and rationing, securing sources of energy and reducing the effects of climate change.

In a statement issued on the release of the report, the Energy Minister said that the report reviews the U.A.E.'s pioneering experience in sustainable development and its work in producing conventional and renewable energy through the development of strategies, mechanisms and initiatives with clear objectives and with the participation of various energy sectors.

Dr. Al Neyadi said that the report embodies the U.A.E.'s vision 2021 pertaining to comprehensive and balanced diversity for different sources of hydrocarbon, renewable and nuclear energy to meet future needs for electricity, reducing the negative impacts of climate change and ensuring the nation's future energy security.

The report also focused on the country's achievements in the field of energy, best practices and success stories for national activities in development of the energy sector. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai announces crude oil price for January

posted on 23/10/2014

The Department of Oil Affairs of the Government of Dubai has announced that it has notified its customers that the official price of Dubai crude oil, to be delivered in January 2015, will be 0.4 cents lower than the average daily settlement price of the Oman Crude Oil Financial Contract in Dubai Mercantile Exchange for contracts being traded over the next month.

Abdullah Abdul Karim, Director-General of the department, told WAM that the department sets the price of Dubai crude oil in the market to parallel Oman's oil prices, which reinforces the transparency of their pricing process commitment and sets a fair value for crude oil in the Middle East.

The official monthly price of Dubai crude oil - with the transition to the pricing of futures contracts - is determined in advance, wherein a differential price is set three months in advance (M-3), while the official final monthly price is determined at the end of the second month (M-2).

DME Oman crude oil is considered a benchmark for pricing crude oil by the countries that produce it, and it gives them a differential price that reflects the quality of the product.

Every day at 12:30 p.m. Dubai time, Dubai Mercantile Exchange determines the daily settlement price of the Oman contract, which is the average price of transactions made within the five minute period from 12:25 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Dubai time.

On the last circulating day of the month, the settlement window lasts for 30 minutes from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Dubai time. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DP world welcomes first scheduled vessel to new Container Terminal 3 in Jebel Ali

posted on 23/10/2014

DP World on Wednesday welcomed the first scheduled vessel to call at its new Container Terminal 3 in Jebel Ali, Dubai, as it gears up to serve customers at the state-of-the-art facility.

The APL Phoenix was welcomed by DP World Chairman, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, and other senior officials from DP World.

The global ports operator says that once fully operational next year, the world's most modern container terminal will add a further 4 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) capacity to the port, taking total handling capacity at Jebel Ali to 19 million TEU. With its 21st century infrastructure and 18 metre draft, Terminal 3 gives Jebel Ali the ability to handle more of the new generation mega vessels, and as many as 10 Ultra Large Container Ships, ULCS, at the same time.

Terminal 3 represents innovation and technology, featuring 19 of the world's largest and most modern quay cranes remotely operated from a sophisticated control room off the quayside, in safety and comfort, largely by Emirati nationals, including females, who will also make up the majority of the 50 Automated Rail Mounted Gantry crane (ARMG) operations team.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World, said, "We are proud to welcome the APL Phoenix to Terminal 3 as trial operations begin at our newest terminal. As the US$850 million Terminal 3 comes on line, it will support the growth of Dubai, the U.A.E. and the wider region.

"In line with the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister of U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for transforming the city with smart systems using technology, Terminal 3 will be the world's largest semi-automated terminal, providing operational efficiencies for customers, comfortable and safe working conditions for our people and environmental benefits by reducing our carbon footprint. Terminal 3 will be 30% more carbon efficient than a traditional terminal." Bin Sulayem added that this huge project highlighted the success of engineering and design teams led by U.A.E. nationals employing a highly innovative approach to the challenge of taking what was a small general cargo yard and develop it into a modern semi-automated terminal. "Also, we are pleased to see the world's largest and most modern cranes remotely operated by Emirati nationals, both male and female. I would like to congratulate them all." Kenneth Glenn, President, APL, said, "APL congratulates DP World on the opening of the Jebel Ali Terminal 3. As the world's biggest semi-automated facility, Terminal 3 is well-equipped to provide our ships with optimal and sustainable service efficiency and reliability. This is a key success factor for the container liner business. We are very pleased to work with DP World in continuously improving the speed and efficiency of our vessel dispatch here in Jebel Ali, and throughout our global network." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DWTC wins bid to host 10 new international congresses

posted on 23/10/2014

Dubai World Trade Centre, DWTC, has won bids to host 10 new international congresses at the venue from 2015 – 2018, underpinning an already robust calendar of confirmed conferences scheduled over the coming years. Spanning across strategic industry sectors including healthcare, energy, aviation, engineering, and insurance, these high-profile events will welcome over 28,000 delegates from around the globe, and are expected to deliver an estimated Dh275 million (US$72 million) economic boost for the emirate.

"Dubai has established itself globally as the regional link for organisations and industries seeking to increase their footprint in the MENASA region. We aim to complement the emirate's growth by strategically targeting congresses in growth sectors to drive maximum benefit and return on investment," said Ahmed Alkhaja, Senior Vice President – Venues, DWTC.

"Through these new congresses, in addition to our existing portfolio, we will continue to foster platforms for knowledge-sharing, attracting quality businesses and delegates who see the unique appeal this city brings." Health and Safety will drive the agenda at the beginning of the year with Global HSE Conference (Health and Safety Environment) taking place in February.

With the global healthcare services market forecasted to reach US$3 trillion by 2015, Nuviun Digital Health and Medical Technology Conference 2015, taking place in May, will put Dubai at the heart of the global healthcare conversation, as the U.A.E. invests extensively in healthcare infrastructure.

Rounding out the summer will be the 11th Worldwide China Insurance Congress and Dragon Awards Ceremony, taking place in August. With an anticipated 7,000 delegates in attendance, this will be one of the larger congresses of the year.

Other key events that will take place in the second half of 2015 include The International Federation of Consulting Engineers 2015 and Consumer Rights Conference.

Confirmed congresses for 2016 include the 61st Distripress Annual Congress, the 34th International Congress of the International Society of Blood Transfusion, which was won through a competitive bid process that included Paris, Rome and Copenhagen, and the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition which itself will bring in 10,000 visitors. World Congress for Brain, Spinal Cord Mapping will be held in March 2017 and The Institute of Internal Auditors Conference will take place in May 2018.

In line with Dubai's Vision 2020 for the tourism sector, DWTC has been a key driving force in boosting business tourism in the emirate. In 2013, DWTC welcomed 2.2 million trade visitors – a 20% year-on-year increase, supporting tens of thousands of jobs as a result.

DWTC is part of the ‘Bid Alliance', which is a collaboration of the emirate's stakeholders that have united to create a communal approach to handling international congress bids. The group is part of the Dubai Business Events – The Official Convention Bureau, a division of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates NBD announces third quarter 2014 results

posted on 23/10/2014

Emirates NBD has delivered a set of financial results with net profit up 51% to Dh3,913 million. The strong operating performance was helped by all parts of the business delivering year-on-year revenue growth supported by strong economic growth in Dubai as SMEs and Trade Finance drive recovery.

Total income for the first nine months of 2014 grew by 25% to Dh10.89 billion. Net interest income grew 19% as the bank focused asset growth on higher margin retail and Islamic products, whilst the Bank's liability profile improved thanks to current and saving account growth. Non-interest income grew 39% boosted by increased income from trade finance, foreign exchange and brokerage and asset management business, as well as gains from the sale of investments and property.

Emirates NBD Asset Management delivered another milestone when Assets Under Management passed the Dh10 billion mark. The bank continues to lead digital banking innovation with the launch of the e-IPO platform. Over 50% of customer subscriptions for the Emaar Malls IPO were received via the bank's ATM, online and mobile channels.

The bank's Impaired Loan Ratio improved by 1.3% in 2014 to 12.6% due to a significant increase in repayments and recoveries on the back of an improved economy. The Impaired Loan Coverage Ratio also improved significantly by 12.8% to 70.3% in 2014.

Group Chief Executive Officer, Emirates NBD, Shayne Nelson, said, "During the first nine months of 2014, we have delivered another healthy set of results, with net profit up by 51% to Dh 3.91 billion. This is driven by strong growth in both net interest income and non-interest income. It is very pleasing that each part of the business was able to deliver year-on-year revenue growth. The balance sheet continues to strengthen as we see a significant improvement in the capital ratios, the Impaired Loan Ratio and Coverage Ratios. I am confident that the bank will continue to deliver excellent service to our customers and superior value to our shareholders." Group Chief Financial Officer, Emirates NBD, Surya Subramanian, said, "The bank has continued to deliver strong levels of operating profitability which is evident from the growth in both total income and pre-provision operating profit. Despite a competitive environment we have been able to widen margins helped by growth in higher margin retail and Islamic products, a more efficient funding and capital base and contribution from our Egyptian business. Costs remain firmly under control with a cost-to-income ratio of 29.5% for the first 9 months on 2014, 4.6% lower than the comparable period in 2013." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sharjah Islamic Bank announces a 33.5% rise in net profits

posted on 23/10/2014

Sharjah Islamic Bank announced its 2014 nine month results with net profits up to Dh295 million, compared to Dh221 million achieved in the same period last year, a 33.5% growth rate.

Net customer facilities reached Dh13.9 billion, rising by Dh 1.4 billion, a 11.3% increase since December 2013 and customer deposits reached Dh14.2 billion, rising by Dh 2.2 billion or 18.9% growth since December 2013. Total Assets reached Dh24.4 billion, growing by 12.4% since December 2013.

Liquid assets reached Dh5.7 billion, or 23.4% of the total assets, compared to Dh5.1 billion or 23.6% at the end of 2013.

SIB shareholder's equity of 4.6 billion represents 18.6 percent of the total balance sheet footing, maintaining a strong capital adequacy ratio of 25.3% by the end of September, reflecting the bank's strong capital base and strong financial position that enables the bank to achieve its strategic objectives. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


National Bank of Fujairah reports 28.9 percent net profit growth in first nine months of 2014

posted on 23/10/2014

National Bank of Fujairah PJSC (NBF) has announced its results for the nine month period ended 30 September 2014, recording a net profit of Dh 369.2 million compared to Dh 286.4 million in the corresponding period of 2013; showing a jump of 28.9 percent.

The operating profit of the bank had gone up 15.6 percent from Dh 465.4 million compared to Dh 402.6 million in the corresponding period last year.

According to the statistics, the net impairment losses during the period were Dh 96.1 million compared to Dh 116.2 million in the corresponding period; depicting an improvement of 17.3 percent. The NPL ratio stood at 4.7 percent compared to 6.1 percent at 30 September 2013.

Net interest income of the bank grew by 16.7 percent and operating income grew by 17.3 percent compared to the corresponding period. Similarly, operating expenses increased by 20.3 percent; reflecting on-going investment in enhancing NBF's business and service platforms. Cost-to-income ratio stood at 37.1 percent compared to 36.2 percent in the corresponding period.

Loans and advances of Dh 15.9 billion were up 14.8 percent from Dh 13.8 billion at 2013 year.

Customer deposits of Dh 16.5 billion were up 9.8 percent from Dh 15.0 billion at 2013 year end, and up by 24.2 percent from 30 September 2013. Strong capital adequacy and lending to stable resources ratios were maintained at 16.01 percent (Tier 1 ratio: 13.02 percent ) and 89.1 percent respectively; well ahead of Central Bank minimum requirements.

As part of ongoing efforts to broaden its suite of services, the bank recently launched NBF Islamic to provide clients with a comprehensive suite of Sharia' compliant financial solutions. It also announced the establishment of an equipment finance unit to support companies and vendors in sectors ranging from transportation and logistics to healthcare and manufacturing.

Sir Easa Saleh Al Gurg, KCVO, CBE Deputy Chairman said: "We are happy to report once again that the bank is progressing smoothly on its growth path, with its progression underpinned by a consistent focus on core business, product and service quality and risk management. The bank's strategic initiatives, such as the recently introduced Islamic banking proposition, have started to bear fruit, and with customers' continued support, our ongoing growth is assured.

"We will continue to leverage our award-winning capabilities and investments in infrastructure and technology to take customer service levels to greater heights and maximise shareholder returns. As a bank firmly rooted in the cultural heritage and economic success of the U.A.E., we will continue to play our part in its ongoing progress." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Trade exchange volume between Jafza, Turkey stood at US$734 million

posted on 23/10/2014

Jafza's total trade volume with Turkey stands at around US $734 million for import, export and re-export, and has seen a combined annual growth rate of 22 per cent over a ten year period, from 2004 to 2013.

Trade relations between the U.A.E. and Turkey have a long history, and in recent years, the U.A.E.'s trade relations with Turkey have grown rapidly, with trade expected to reach US$ 15 billion by next year. Only three years ago, this number was at around US$ 5 billion annually.

The Jafza roadshow in Turkey generated tremendous interest among Turkish business circles looking to use Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai as a trade hub.

The team, led by Ibrahim Mohamed Aljanahi, Deputy CEO of Jafza and Chief Commercial Officer of Economic Zones World, included Dr. Mohamed Al Banna, VP Commercial Services, Saood Al Khloofi, Head of Middle East and Africa Region, and Mania Merrikhi, Project Manager with Jafza's Marketing and Communications Department.

Aljanahi and his team met Turkish government officials as well as a number of Turkish trade associations, and discussed cooperation and the strengthening of trade relations between Jafza and Turkey.

The 5-day tour of Turkey included a major business seminar, which was largely attended by businesses and representatives from the U.A.E. consulate in Istanbul, the Turkish Ministry of Economy, and a number of Turkish business associations and groups.

Companies interested in Jafza were from a broad range of sectors including Food and Beverages, Automotive and Wood Products and Technologies.

A number of companies have committed to visiting Jafza in the near future to further explore possibilities, and Jafza officials are optimistic about seeing a boost in the number of Turkish companies hosted in Jebel Ali Free Zone during the coming year.

There are currently more than 90 Turkish companies operating out of Jafza, and the team is looking to enhance the trade ties with Turkey and bring more Turkish companies to Jafza and Dubai, and help them connect with one of the world's leading Free Zones. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ERC delegation takes part in distribution of foodstuff to Syrian refugees in Jordan

posted on 23/10/2014

AMMAN: Volunteers of Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), delegation members, have participated in the distribution of relief aid to the Syrian refugees in the Jordanian northern city of Mafraq.

The distribution took place in coordination between the Jordanian Red Crescent Society and ERC, which supervises over the U.A.E.-Jordanian camp for the Syrian refugees.

Ali Rashid, Director of the Jordanian Red Crescent in Mafraq, commended the humanitarian role shouldered by ERC, noting that Mafraq hosts 10 relief distribution centres. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Suspect case of Ebola leaves hospital free from disease, says MoH

posted on 23/10/2014

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has announced that a passenger suspected to have contracted Ebola virus tested negative and has left the country.

It added that the suspect, who was coming from Liberia and transiting through the Dubai International Airport, was suffering from diarrhoea that aroused suspicions that could have contracted Ebola. He was quarantined for a few days to ensure that he was free from the disease.

The ministry said in a statement that the Dubai Health Authority conducted a medical check-up in line with World Health Organisation's regulations in such cases. "All preventive and precautionary measures were followed, and full medical care was provided to the passenger during the quarantine period." The MoH noted that all the airports and land exit points have been observing all necessary precautions to ensure public safety nationwide, adding that all procedures are reviewed in line with WHO norms in this respect.

Meanwhile, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi said a Nigerian female child transiting through the Abu Dhabi International Airport has tested negative, and left the country. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


First Emirati surfer to represent his country at ISA World Games

posted on 23/10/2014

Emirati Mohammed Rahma will be the first Emirati national to compete in an international surfing competition, essentially making history and highlighting the U.A.E. as a surfing destination to the world. Rahma will join 192 other surfers from 32 nations representing their countries in the International Surfing Association, ISA, 50th Anniversary World Games being held in Peru on October 24th.

The 27-year-old learned how to surf in 2010 following a rugby injury which forced him into rehabilitation exercises in water, which in turn lead him to take up surfing.

Rahma spent the next few years immersing himself in the sport, surfing at every opportunity he had at various beaches in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah as well as other international hotspot's in Sri Lanka, Maldives, the U.S.A. and Australia.

His passion for the sport has driven him to compete internationally after he spent the last year training with a professional coach in Los Angeles. "Surfing has changed my life. And as a young Emirati growing up in Dubai, I wish that I could have been introduced to this sport at a younger age. I get so much enjoyment out of it, which drives me to develop the sport in the U.A.E.," he said.

"This is the first time that the U.A.E. is being represented in surfing on the international stage," said Carl de Villiers, owner of Surf Shop Arabia and a long-time supporter and sponsor of Rahma.

"I've watched him progress in his surfing and the fact that he is now representing his country in such an elite competition is really something to be proud of," he added.

The young surfer, who has funded most of this journey himself, said, "For me, my intention is not to win but to raise awareness in the U.A.E. of surfing, provide a platform for other young Emiratis to get involved, learn the sport and also represent their country in international competitions. I would love to see surfing being integrated into U.A.E. school curricula and develop this sport amongst Emiratis." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –